Mary Mark & David Johnson
Artists
Founders, Lost Steeple Originals

Mary Mark is one of the finest & most sought-after relief block printmaking artists in America. Her distinctive handcrafted style inspired by the 19th and 20th century arts and crafts movement coupled with the belief that art is for everyone, has created a devoted base of art collectors throughout the United States and abroad. Her unique style frequently incorporates hand-painted frames that are inextricably linked to the artwork they surround.

Trained as a painter and printmaker with two bachelors degrees, she is self-taught in the fine art of handmade papermaking. Totally enthralled by the printing mystique – the methodical process required to create a final image – she found her passion.

As a printmaker, she carves, etches and prepares the matrix through a number of meticulous steps. She must divide her original artistic vision into 20 different image stages that take over three to four months to print. These printings separate not only the evolution of the physical image but also the emerging palette and must register properly to produce the detailed final image. "Inspired by Picasso's reduction linocuts, I have been working at this for 20 years now. Pitting negative and positive spaces against each other, the image emerges from the block over months of carving and printing multiple layers of color until it evolves into the original idea," Mark describes.

Mark's works, linoleum block prints, oil pastels and linocuts are available through hundreds of galleries & frameries throughout the U.S. and Internationally. She is frequently selected to exhibit at museums and competes in national art shows from Denver to New York City. Throughout the summer and early fall, Mark travels the Midwest from Milwaukee to Philadelphia presenting her linoleum block prints and occasionally her other works in some of the highest rated U.S. juried art festivals such as Cherry Creek and Summerfair. 2005 marks the first time she will exhibit at the number one show in the country, Sausalito, Marin County, California. She has won numerous awards, grants and recently was featured in Artist's Magazine.

Mark's block prints and oil pastels are a profusion of life's fabrics, actualized as contemporary still lives using modern living spaces and layers of brilliant colors and textures. Mark's work is sometimes referred to as Matisse-like because of her vivid color palette and skewed perspective. Surfaces are layered one on top of another, juxtaposing pattern on pattern, resulting in a high energy, visual takeaway.

Mary Mark resides and works in an 1876 church building in New Richmond, Ohio, a small river town outside of Cincinnati. Mark and her husband, David Johnson, purchased the church building in 1987 and founded Lost Steeple Originals to license and distribute her artwork. The studio is an annual destination for many student artists and others. Mark's work can be seen at www.marymark.com.